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Full text of "The manufacture and properties of iron and steel"

430                                     THE IRON INDUSTRY.
should be set for each man. If labor unions will drop this primal error, reason may find a basis for discussion, while with this dictum as a premise there can be no reconcilement with the spirit of progress. They must also drop the tyrannical theorem that non-union men may not work with union men, and the anarchistic conception that non-union men must not deliver goods to union shops. Many modern strikes are based on these ideas, and arbitration is utterly out of the question since the answer is either yes or no. Any board of arbitrators, by the mere act of considering such claims, thereby acknowledge that they have a standing in equity, when a moment's consideration will show that they subvert the principles of our government. Almost all of the large steel plants of America manage their own affairs. The result is that the introduction of labor-saving devices creates no trouble, the more so because siTch devices, while they decrease the number of men, demand a higher grade of workmen, so that it often happens that the man who operates the new machine will earn a higher rate of wages than any man made before at the same kind of work. Another reason why labor-saving machines are not entirely contrary to the interests of the skilled workman lies in a fact which seems to be unknown to the average social economist. In the manufacture of steel, there is much hard and heavy work. Formerly, when the work was done by hand, a skilled man was one who was superior physically, and as soon as he reached middle life he was obliged to accept some less arduous and less remunerative employment. With the introduction of machinery the skilled employee may often retain his position during the remainder of his life, and the ability to keep an olcl and trusted employee in a position where his experience is of value to himself and to his employer is not merely a question of sentiment; it is an advantage as great to the employer as to the workman. The argument in favor of labor unions may be stated thus:
(1)   Capital is allowed to organize;
(2)  Labor must have the same rights as capital;
(3)  Labor must be allowed to organize.
It is impossible to dissent from the premises, or to escape from the conclusion; but it is necessary to define the terms. It is essential to know just what is meant by "organize." Capital organizes into corporations, but the rights and privileges of these bodies are regulated by law. They may not overstep whatever regulations